The owner-president of a successful family-owned construction business in one of the most powerful men in his would. His power is equaled only by that of the wartime naval commander of ships at sea, or a tenured university professor in the classroom, or the federal judge in the courtroom. He has no real advisors, no real protagonists to make him think ahead and very little opportunity for review of his thoughts and actions. And when does this self-appointed monarch stop being president of his company? All too often is not until he dies. In a father's eyes, no son is ever quite ready or qualified to take over, so successors are usually appointed by mother and the attorney on the way back from the funeral. To retire a cantankerous incumbent owner-president is almost impossible. Ask any son or daughter. In the family business, whatever problems the company faces and whatever limitations are placed upon its success are foisted on it by its president- and accepted by him. In fact, the company might best be described not as the family corporation, not eh closely held corporation, but rather the custom-built corporation. The owner-president first needs some genuine humility. He is the beneficiary on one of the most beautiful built-in protective devices against criticism that man has ver put together. But if he looks at himself honestly he must realize that most of his power comes not from divinity but form secrecy. No one inside or outside the company has either the facts or the figures to contest his point of view. Often nobody cares. Even his board of directors is legal fiction. As the president faces up to his loneliness, he will realize that he is not only not divine, he is not even immortal. The founder must cease to be the company's oldest and hardest employee and train an heir. But what happens to most owner-manager when they approach business language- accounting? They hire a bookkeeper- 52- year-old maiden lady- who keeps the books. But no, Gertrude doesn't really keep the books. She hides them. Her job description- keep the boss smarter than the help. Unfortunately, like the mule, the management of a family business has been so busy hauling the cart that it may no be able to reproduce itself in the future. He can always sell the business or he can try to keep the family jewels in the family vault. After all, for whom were they created in the first place? If the owner-president really wants his business to continue after him, he must personally choose an heir- now. And the president will make it his prime responsibility to teach the business t this student, his successor.